FRIDAY

REVIEW: If you’re going to see anything this weekend, make it Seattle Repertory Theatre’s Speech and Debate, a comedy about three high schoolers who find unlikely friendship as they work together to expose a sex scandal in their hometown of Salem, Ore. On the surface, the play seems targeted at teens—lots of scenes about sexually charged IMing and blogging. But at its core, it deals with very real topics—loneliness, small-town prejudice, high school insecurities—and appeals to all ages, thanks to a disarmingly honest, irreverant script by Stephen Karam. It takes skill to create a character like drama geek Diwata (Erin Stewart), who has a penchant for scat singing and wearing nude body stockings. And Stewart plays the part convincingly—with a hint of Molly Shannon’s awkward Catholic schoolgirl Mary Katherine Gallagher. Doesn’t matter if high school was a few years or a few decades ago for you—nude body stockings are always funny. (Through February 21)

Richard Alston Dance Company dips and leaps to music by Stravinsky and Philip Glass. Catch the famed British modern dance troupe in its return to Meany Hall. (Friday & Saturday)

SATURDAY

Not one, but two (!) opportunities today to test the best Belgian beer coming out of the Northwest. The Washington Beer Commission hosts two rounds of Belgianfest in Georgetown, from noon-4pm and 6-10pm. Wear your drinking hat.

French rock quartet Phoenix plays to a sold-out show at Showbox SoDo, but you can try to score tickets here.

REVIEW: There’s one week left to see Seattle Opera’s production of Verdi’s Il Trovatore, about a gypsy’s curse that follows young lovers to a bitter end. In last Sunday’s show, soprano Mary Elizabeth Williams (a former Seattle Opera young artist) made a stunning company debut as Leonora, the fiery lady-in-waiting courted by two men (who don’t realize that they’re brothers). Also of note was mezzo-soprano Mary Phillips as the wild-eyed gypsy. Her scene in Act II—where she writhes in agony in front of a blood-red backdrop as she reveals to her adopted son that she mistakenly burned her own son to death years ago—is so impassioned, you almost forget she mistakenly burned her own son to death. (This isn’t one of Verdi’s strongest stories.)

SUNDAY

The fifth annual Children’s Film Festival Seattle kicks off Friday at the Northwest Film Forum, but the best of the 10-day global film feast screens today. At 1pm, catch the North American premiere of Moomin and Midsummer Madness, an animated feature about a family of hippo-like trolls and their adventures in a floating home. The Moomins are huge in Finland; what started as a comic strip by Tove Jansson, one of Scandinavia’s most popular writers, has since been adapted as an animated TV series, film, even an opera. Imagine if Barney had his own opera. Shudder…

Ben Gibbard and Jay Farrar, the lead singers of Death Cab for Cutie and Son Volt, play the Showbox behind their Kerouac-inspired album, with lyrics straight from the author’s novel Big Sur. One man’s mental breakdown is another man’s indie album. (Check out our preview of the show.)

We named Bill Frisell one of the 50 most influential Seattle musicians last year, and though he’s been playing jazz guitar around town since the late ‘80s, he always has something new to offer. Expect the Bill Frisell Trio to pack the Triple Door tonight.

MONDAY

In her new memoir Just Kids, Patti Smith covers the early years: nights spent sleeping on subways in New York, and how she met her first boyfriend, photographer Robert Mapplethorpe. Find out more when the rock legend comes to Benaroya.

WEDNESDAY

“A great performance doesn’t hit you across the head, it makes you comfortable,” superstar violinist Itzhak Perlman has said. Let the 15-time Grammy winner soothe you with a little Mozart and Mendelssohn at Benaroya. (Shows on Wednesday and Thursday, 7:30pm.)

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